The Animals
You Eat

X. J. Kennedy
The animals you eat
Leave footprints in your eyes.
You stare, four-year-old pools
Troubled. "They don't have souls,"
I tell you, in defeat.

Has no one ever dined
In bedtime stories pink
Cuddlable pigs inhabit,
No one stewed Peter Rabbit
In that land of pure mind?

You tinker with your burger,
Doubtful. "it doesn't matter,"
I say We kill by proxy
And so, like Foxy Loxy,
Dissemble while we murder.

"Lambs wouldn't have a life
Romping in black-eyed Susans
If they weren't to be eaten."
But your lip quivers. Beaten,
I'm caught with dripping knife.

To bed now. Gravely wise,
You face night on your own,
I smooth your pillow and sheet.
The animals you eat
Start turning to your eyes.

--- From Words Burnished by Music
©2004, Johns Hopkins
University Press

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